(Image: Góra Zoltán)This week's Fridayflash is a continuation of the Jo Carter series. Well, it's number two, so I'm not sure if that qualifies as a serial, but it's planned to be an ongoing thing, therefore it probably does! If you missed the first instalment, you can read back (go on, it's less than 300w, you can do it).
By Lily Mulholland
Jo was awake before her eyes opened. She could hear a low hum but couldn’t identify its source. The dandelion hairs on her tummy were dancing to a gentle breeze; she was stark naked. Without moving, Jo understood she was strapped down to some kind of bench. Metal, she thought, judging from the way it cradled her body; cold, like a mortician’s slab.
Breathing evenly, Jo concentrated on her surrounds. She wasn’t ready to let her captor know she was conscious, so she let her hearing and sense of smell do the work. The hum might be some kind of refrigerator or heater; that meant the room had power. Her nostrils picked up faint traces of chemicals: ether, chloroform, ammonia. She was probably in some kind of industrial building. That meant she was probably still in the city limits. Escape was a possibility, if she could break her bonds and get out of the room without being seen. That was a big double ‘if’.
After five minutes of silent observation, Jo relaxed a little; she couldn’t feel anyone else in the room. If there was someone with her, he or she had probably figured she was coming around – they’d been very quiet. Jo opened her eyes. Above her were metal racks, with meat hooks spaced evenly down their neat rows. Large industrial lights flooded the room, which looked as though it was made from whitewashed concrete. Jo turned her head to the right to get a feel for the size and layout of the room. She gasped. Meeting her eyes with an impassive face was her target. And her target was Jeremy.
‘Josephine. How nice to see you again.’
Not willing to let him gain the upper hand for a second time that day – was it still Monday? She couldn’t tell how long she’d been out for but she wasn’t going to let him know that. Jo turned her line of sight back to the meat hooks. Time to toughen up girlie. Feeling her training take over, she was able to still the slight chill that had threatened to invade her body. Jo willed concrete into her veins, steel into her bones, fire into her belly. She was not going to let him win.
‘I’m going to break you.’
He’d broken her once before and he knew it. But that was back then, back when she’d been green as a nursery sapling. Back when she’d misjudged sex for love. Back when she was ripe to be plucked by an assassin. And that’s what he was. She hadn’t known until today who Jeremy really was: an enemy of the state, her target. She suppressed a small laugh; control obviously hadn’t done their homework. And all this time she thought they knew everything about her, right down to her brand of nail clippers.
She turned back to Jeremy and shot him a look of insubordinate contempt.
‘Not if I break you first, you dickless bastard.’